CONCERN over the future of some of Ryedale’s libraries is rising as more volunteers are urged to come forward to contribute to their running.

Libraries in Kirkbymoorside, Pickering and Helmsley are currently in the pipeline to become volunteer led under proposed North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) changes.

Under the proposals, Pickering’s library would become a hybrid library run by paid staff and volunteers, while Kirkbymoorside and Helmsley libraries would be run entirely by volunteers.

Public meetings were called to discuss the matter and town councillors are worried that the libraries could face closure if they cannot recruit enough volunteers.

Kirkbymoorside town mayor, Councillor Chris Dowie said about 50 people attended the public meeting in the town.

She said: “It was great to see so many different generations come to show their support for the library, we just need to carry on fighting.

“We would like to have a meeting with the county council and start talking about what we can do to work together.

“The county council has estimated that Pickering library will need about 50 volunteers, along with library staff.

“We think it would be extremely difficult to recruit even more volunteers considering we are a much smaller town than Pickering.

“We want them to re-think their plans so that there is some librarian input in all of the towns. This is about all of Ryedale’s libraries.”

Coun Dowie also said that concerns have been raised regarding the librarian profession being devalued.

Chrys Mellor, of the county’s library service, told members of the public and councillors at a Pickering Town Council meeting that the library service’s budget would be reduced from £5.89m to £4.2m by 2018/19.

She said: “All libraries will have to rely on volunteers. We will not be able to deliver the service at the same level.”

County Councillor Val Arnold said at a public meeting in Helmsley that she hoped there would be a positive outcome from the proposals.

She said: “We have urged people to respond to the consultation exercise and at the same time to consider becoming a volunteer to help run this much-valued service.

“I am hoping for a successful outcome to the consultations but obviously volunteers are going to be needed.”

Consultations end on February 8. For more information, visit


Norton backs campaign

NORTON residents have shown their support for saving the town’s library.

County councillor Elizabeth Shields, who represents the town, organised a public meeting last week in a bid to keep the library open as a community hub following the announcement of significant budget cuts.

North Yorkshire County Council is currently reviewing services across the area and looking at the possibility of one library for each district and borough in a bid to save £1.6m.

Coun Shields said the meeting went well with about 50 people attending.

“It appears that Norton could be recognised as a possibility for a community library, which wasn’t the case previously,” she said.

Coun Shields said the meeting had been a move in the right direction.

“Several people spoke about how they would like to use the library for their group.

“There is a lot of extra space behind the library which we now need to investigate to find out how to make this work so that these people can use it as a community hub.”

Coun Shields said that with Norton Primary School expanding to the Brooklyn site in Langton Road, there was also the possibility of the youth services using the library.

“We need to have space for young people and I hope to if we are to lose Brooklyn the library can become the new home of the youth club as it is vital we have these facilities,” she added.

“The advantage of the library site is that it also has a really good car park that people can use.”

Coun Shields said she planned to organise a committee to formulate plans for the future of Norton library.

“Several people have expressed an interest in getting involved, so we now need to pull things together to present to the county council before October,” she said.

“At least the council is now prepared to regard us as a community facility and although it will be a long haul this is an encouraging start.”

Coun Shields said: “Most people had been fearing the worse but are now hoping for the best.”